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Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, associated field systems, cairnfields, funerary cairns, and a medieval field system and two shielings

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.3385 / 54°20'18"N

Longitude: -3.3283 / 3°19'41"W

OS Eastings: 313738.397252

OS Northings: 494470.587445

OS Grid: SD137944

Mapcode National: GBR 5L68.7J

Mapcode Global: WH71G.V69W

Entry Name: Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, associated field systems, cairnfields, funerary cairns, and a medieval field system and two shielings

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1963

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016983

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32825

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Millom

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Stainton Ling
prehistoric hut circle settlement, two associated field systems, two
cairnfields, two funerary cairns, part of a medieval field system and two
medieval shielings. It is located on gently-sloping enclosed moorland on
Stainton Fell between Samgarth Beck and Stainton Beck and represents evidence
for the prehistoric and medieval exploitation of this landscape.
The hut circle settlement is located at SD13549446 and consists of a levelled
circular platform approximately 27m in diameter upon which one or more timber
houses would have stood. There is an entrance on the platform's south western
side and immediately south west of this there is a smaller circular platform
considered to be the site of a single hut. On slightly higher ground to the
south east there are remains of the western of two prehistoric field systems
associated with the hut circle settlement. This field system is centred at
approximately SD13559437 and consists of four small plots or fields bounded by
either stone banks or cairn alignments, all of which have been largely cleared
of stone to provide land suitable for arable cultivation. To the north and
south of this field system there is a cairnfield consisting of approximately
50 clearance cairns and a few short lengths of stone bank. Located at
SD13569427 to the south of the western prehistoric field system is an oval-
shaped round funerary cairn measuring 21m long by 11m wide and up to 2m high.
The eastern of the two prehistoric field systems is located on slightly higher
ground, is centred at approximately SD13909444 and, like the western
prehistoric field system, it consists of four small plots or fields bounded by
either stone banks or cairn alignments, all of which have been largely cleared
of stone to provide land suitable for arable cultivation. A substantial stone
bank aligned east-west runs between these small fields whilst elsewhere there
are alignments of clearance cairns which are interpreted as representing the
line of old field boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were
piled against fences or hedges. The eastern of the two cairnfields is also
centred at approximately the same location as the eastern prehistoric field
system and consists of about 200 clearance cairns, some of which, as described
above, form part of the field system. At SD14029446, on the eastern edge of
the eastern prehistoric field system, there is an oval-shaped funerary cairn
measuring 14.5m long by 13m wide and up to 3.5m high.
A medieval field system lies close to the south western corner of the
monument, centred at approximately SD13469437. It consists of a turf bank
running NNE-SSW and parallel to a later, now decayed, stone wall. Ridge and
furrow respects this bank and lies on either side; to the east of the bank,
ridge and furrow overlies part of the western prehistoric field system, while
to the west of the bank a group of about two dozen clearance cairns are
aligned with the ridge and furrow and are considered to be contemporary.
Immediately south of Stainton Beck there are two medieval shielings; the
eastern is located at SD13879475 and, despite being mutilated by a later stone
wall, consists of a single-roomed rectangular building measuring 11m long by
6m wide with walls surviving up to 0.6m high. The western shieling is located
at SD13809475 and consists of a single-roomed rectangular building
approximately 15m long by 6m wide with walls up to 0.3m high. A short distance
to the west is a small rectangular platform upon which a small associated
structure may have stood.
The prehistoric remains at Stainton Ling reflect either sporadic or transient
occupation over a long period. The funerary cairns have forms similar to
excavated funerary cairns dated to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (about
3000-1500 BC), while the unenclosed hut circle settlement is considered by
comparison with dated examples from elsewhere in northern England to span a
broad period from about 1750-450 BC. Sporadic occupation of Stainton Ling is
attested by the medieval field system and shielings.
All fence posts, gate posts and modern field boundaries are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

A medieval irregular open field system is a collection of unenclosed open
arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips which were
allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy
ploughs produced long ridges and the resultant ridge and furrow is the most
obvious physical indication of the open field system. Well-preserved ridge and
furrow is an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and
a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape.
Shielings are small seasonally occupied huts which were built to provide
shelter for herdsmen who tended animals grazing summer pasture on upland or
marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was
moved in spring from lowland pasture around the permanently occupied farms to
communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. Settlement patterns
reflecting transhumance are known from the Bronze Age onwards, but the
construction of herdsmen's huts in a form distinctive from the normal dwelling
houses of farms only appears from the early medieval period onwards (from AD
450) to about the end of the 16th century. Shielings have a simple rectangular
or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling, although turf-built
structures are known. Most examples have a single undivided interior, although
two-roomed shielings are known. They are reasonably common in the uplands but
frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming
practices here. Those examples which survive well and which help illustrate
the medieval land use of an area are considered to be nationally important.
Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, field systems, cairnfields
and funerary cairns survives well and forms part of a large area of
well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south
west Cumbria. The monument contains a complex and diverse group of prehistoric
monument classes and together these represent evidence of long term
management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times. Additionally
the medieval field system and shielings survive reasonably well and will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and economy during
the medieval period. Overall the monument is a rare example of a landscape
within which evidence of human exploitation is visible through a range of
remarkably well-preserved monuments dating to the prehistoric and medieval
periods.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-58
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8

Source: Historic England

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